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China trying to create new globalised Buddhist network: Home ministry advisor

Union home ministry advisor on Tibet Affairs said China was also engaging with Buddhist populations in India’s neighbouring countries, particularly Nepal.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2018 07:37 IST
Azaan Javaid
Azaan Javaid
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
China,Buddhism,Buddhist population
A boy prays at a Buddhist temple in Badachu park during Spring Festival celebrations marking Chinese New Year in Beijing on February 17.(Reuters File Photo)

China’s use of Buddhism to emerge as a world leader and its efforts to create a new globalised Buddhist network comprising affluent Chinese Buddhists is bound to affect the Tibetan struggle and India’s relationship with its neighbours, a top government advisor warned on Wednesday.

“China’s emergence as a global power has been discussed widely but what has escaped scrutiny is China’s outreach to the Buddhist world,” said Union home ministry advisor on Tibet Affairs, Amitabh Mathur said at a conference ‘China’s engagement with the Buddhist world: Challenges posed’ organised by the Institute of Chinese Studies.

“China has concluded that they will wait for the time when his Holiness Dalai Lama is no more without whom Tibetans can possibly break into factions and it would be easier for the Chinese to stabilise the situation in Tibet. But the Tibetan struggle has not been a political one, it’s a civilisational struggle. Inspiration for this struggle comes from religious sources not from political, “Mathur said.

Mathur said that China in order to “check the Tibetan struggle” and to emerge as global voice for Buddhism has taken concrete steps such as establishing Buddhist academic institutions across Southeast Asia and engaging with the influential Buddhist clergy.

Mathur a former intelligence officer was appointed as an advisor on Tibet affairs in 2015 owing to his extensive work in the region.

“China has created a cadre of loyal monks in their academia of Buddhist institutes. They have downsized the number of monks and monasteries. There is serious restriction of movement of monks and nuns from their monasteries to different monasteries. Most importantly the identification and incarnations of Lama’s have been appropriated by the establishment,” he said.

Mathur also said China was also engaging with Buddhist populations in India’s neighbouring countries, particularly Nepal.

“I think we need to engage with the influential Buddist clergy in south east Asian Myannmar and Sri Lanka and make sure that the discourse on the origin of Buddhism is corrected and I am sure it will deliver diplomatic political dividends,” he said.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 07:37 IST